We had a great weekend. On Friday night Barb and I decided to go to Hongdae. Hongdae is the night club area of Seoul. Most of the clubs in Hongdae charge around 10,000
to 20,000 Won
cover charge. Not super high, but a lot for starving post-students. The fourth Friday of every month is "Club Night" in Hongdae, however. That means you pay 15,000 Won
(it used to be 10,000
, but them's the breaks) for a wrist band that gets you in at any club all night.
Barb and I headed out a little after midnight. You see, there is no last call in Korea, so you can easily head out after midnight. Not as easily as we thought, however. The subway stops running at around 1:00am but Barb and I made it on before that. We assumed that because we made it to the subway we would make it to Hongdae. You should not assume things in Korea. At 1:00am, somewhere in the middle of nowhere (OK, the middle of one of the largest cities on earth), the subway just stopped
. It stopped at a station, mind you, but it wasn't the end of the line and it wasn't our stop. It just stopped where it was at 1:00am. It pisses me off that transit isn't 24-hours in Calgary, but come on, Seoul? So we were off to find our own way to Hongdae.
We bumped into another Canadian on our way out of the Subway Station (also headed to Hongdae) and we decided to try and catch a cab together. We waited on the corner for like twenty minutes. We couldn't get a cab to pick us up. At first we thought it was because we were waeguks (foreigners), but the Koreans near us had no luck either. Then a Kia van pulled up and rolled down it's passenger window. A lady in her early thirties asked us where we were going. We told her and she said they'd give us a ride. So we climbed into the van and headed off. It turns out the woman was actually Chinese. Her husband, a Korean man who was driving, saw us and thought we might need some help. It wasn't until we were almost there that I realized I had just got into a stranger's van in the middle of a foreign city. Not exactly something your parents would be proud of. But hey, Koreans are super nice (and so are the Chinese apparently) and we arrived at Hongdae speedily and unharmed.
We started off the night by going to Tinpan, a pub in Hongdae that serves 1,900 Won
bottles of Carlsberg. We go there regularly, and Jason, our companion, was meeting some friends there. We tipped a couple back and headed out to the clubs at about 2:30am - the Seoul night still being young. We bounced around between clubs, only taking a break for some air and much-needed street food. I ended up leaving Matmata, my last club, at 7:00am in the morning. You see places with no last-call can really mess you up. I mean, leaving the bar at 7:00am does all sorts of fun things to your biological clock. So I climbed on to the subway, after grabbing a gatorade with some newly acquired Korean and Quebecois friends, and headed home to bed.
On Saturday Barb and I went to the Youngpoon bookstore. Yes, I typed that correctly, it is the actual name of the bookstore. They had an excellent selection of English books, enough to make you drool. It can be hard to find such necessities in Korea, and I've been running out of things to read (remind me to blog about books later). After spending a few hours in the bookstore Barb and I headed to the adjacent Korea World Trade Center and the foodcourt. It was here that we made a wondrous discovery. They had beer
in the foodcourt
. I do not lie. Not just beer, but pitchers of beer. Well what is a Canadian to do when faced with such a situation? Nothing but down the ale I tell you.
After downing the cheap foodcourt beer, Barb and I explored the area around the Trade centre, Jongno-3-ga, for a while. It was quite bustling. We popped into an "Irish pub" for a drink and relaxed for a while. After this we caught a cab to the good old mainstay of Itaewon, the "foreigner neighbourhood" of Korea, for some more drinks. We visited our favorite pub, Bricx. Bricx is our favourite because they have mugs of draft for only 2000 Won
. That's almost as cheap as staying home. We had a few drinks at Bricx and made friends with the bartender, Julio Enrique. Now when you meet a guy named Julio Enrique bartending in a bar in the middle of Seoul, you expect him to be of a fairly exotic origin. Julio, however, is apparently from Edmonton...
Bricx closed at 3 a.m. and we headed outside for some delicious Korean street food. It was pouring rain by this point and we had to run quite fast. We were going to go to Lime Light, a night club, but they were still charging cover
, and we didn't feel like paying at 3 a.m. So we ate our food and headed home to try and get some sleep.